02 December 2018 – First Sunday of Advent / C The times that are in it…

It was only last week I heard of a person identifying the end of the world to be in October 2018 (I write in July 2018)- so on the off-chance you’re reading this- it looks like he was wrong. Anyhow it reminds of an amusing story of a meeting that took place between Saints. Peter and Paul and some senior Archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael. No more than the year ending- they were balancing up the books on the people of the earth. The bottom line was that 70% of the human race had become so deviant and degenerate and corrupt that something had to be done.  It was Sodom and Tomorrow” rather than “Sodom and Gomorrah” but action was needed again by way of another great flood. Raphael who is the angel of healing- chipped in- but was it fair to punish the “good” 30% with the “bad” 70%. Gabriel the messenger helpfully said that not to worry, he could contact the 30% give them the date of the next flood and tell them where to go for safety where they would survive. St. Paul was on hand to draft yet another letter. All were agreed and the letters were sent.

As I heard it the story-teller paused then and somebody asked; “what did the letter say? What is the date and where is the safe place?” To which the raconteur replied; “Goodness! Didn’t you get a letter?”

Thankfully it’s just a yarn – because I didn’t get a letter either. But there is a message today from the Lord for everyone. Christmas is almost upon us. We will hear the age-old story of the birth of Jesus, the Christ-child. The manger, the joy of Mary and Joseph and the shepherds, the joy of the elderly couple, Simeon and Anna and of the Magi (Wise Men) who find the Christ child after a long, hard journey. But you can feel the sorrow also of the story- which we gloss over. The power grabbing Herod did slaughter the innocent children, the Baby Jesus’ life is in danger. Jesus, Mary and Joseph are forced to feel their homeland and become refugees. Today’s Gospel is not about being kill-joy- but it is realistic. God comes to us in our joy and each of us has special moments and times of joy and it is good to realise that God is with us-loving us in those days of “wines and roses.” But there are other moments too that we are asked to live through. When they do, we are to stand erect, hold our heads high, for our liberation is near at hand [Gospel]